The 2012 college football season had some promise for the University of Hawaii Warriors. But from early on, it hasn't looked good for the men of Manoa and new head coach Norm Chow. After five games, the team is 1-4 overall and 0-2 in the first swing through their new home in the Mountain West Conference.
Up next on the schedule is an improved New Mexico Lobo squad (3-3, 0-1) that has as many wins in their first six contests as the past three seasons combined.
The game will be this Saturday evening at Aloha Stadium and the question is: Will the Warriors win? With the level of play shown by the reeling Warriors this year, there aren't too many shots at a win on the schedule but this might be one.
First and without question, Hawaii always plays better at home. Although Lamar is an FCS team, regardless the Warriors smacked them around pretty well a month ago in Aloha Stadium. And, generally it isn't easy for teams to come to Hawaii due to the rather long trip ... and the obvious distractions.
Well, just how do you stop the Lobos? This may sound simplistic but it's fairly obvious - stopping the Lobos at what they do best, which means the Warriors have to prevent the run. In fact, it's really the only thing New Mexico does right. The Lobos are eighth in the nation on the ground. That sounds ominous until you realize they don't throw the ball. The passing attack for New Mexico is last in the country as they've not thrown for more than 70 yards in any of their first six contests.
So any team will look at the statistics and say, you stop the Lobos from running effectively and you stop the Lobos. And that would appear to be the case. Hawaii has a decent secondary, so allow the corners to handle the receivers man-to-man and then stack the box against New Mexico, plain and simple. But that isn't so simple if you don't have the bodies to line up on the defensive line or at linebackers. The Warriors have been decimated by injuries, especially up front on defense.
Schroeder & receivers
Offensively, Chow still wants his team to establish and control the ball. But the Hawaii offensive line has also had issues with injuries and as a whole is not playing well. Where can Warriors attack the Lobos? The New Mexico defense has been opportunistic with interceptions and especially causing fumbles. However, the Lobos haven't fared well against the pass and they too have injuries that make them more vulnerable. That means Hawaii quarterback Sean Schroeder must work the field smartly with passes and find his receivers. The receiving corps of the Warriors is one of their best units on the team and must take advantage of this seeming edge.
I don't see this game as a blowout type contest and both sides will struggle for field position and control of the ball. If Hawaii can limit mistakes and find any kind of offense, especially down the field with passes, they can score enough to win the game. New Mexico is a one-dimensional team. Figure out how to slow down the Lobos running attack and the Warriors can go on to victory.
Hawaii desperately needs a win to salvage their season and it will begin with their front seven on defense and Schroeder's throwing as keys to a Warrior win over the New Mexico Lobos.
Sources - University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!